The advance of modern science has made possible a more perfect devotion to Christ in a certain stage of his existence: whereas earlier times began their devotion with the nativity of Christ- being ignorant of the stages of inter uterine development- we can in fact worship Christ the Blastocyst, Christ the Zygote; Christ the Fetus. The Church has encouraged devotion to these already for centuries through its celebration of the Annunciation (God incarnate as a single-celled organism) and the Visitation (God incarnate as a first- trimester Fetus).
June 28, 2006 at 6:27 pm (Default Category)
Man is measured as good or evil to the extent that he has a good will or an evil will.
But the will is not determined to choosing one thing, so it must be determined by an added quality of choosing good things.
But the quality of choosing good things or evil things is made most perfect by being most firmly established.
But a firmly established quality of choosing is called a habit.
So habits are the measure of a man.
June 27, 2006 at 7:39 pm (Default Category)
As material things always come with non-being, so too analogous terms always come with negation. A blind man reasoning about colors describes both ignorance, and a knowledge by analogy. The difference is whether we take the blind man insofar as he has no proper knowledge (ignorance) or whether we take him as understanding colors in a way that does not require proper knowledge of the thing spoken of, as happens for example in modern science when it understands colors analogously as certain frequencies of waves.
June 22, 2006 at 5:07 pm (Default Category)
What am I? An instance of the rational nature. This is why I was conceived by parents, grew in a womb, was born of a woman, grew by eating, sensed and learned by it, felt passions, learned by abstraction, knew being, desired vindication, grew up in a society, laughed at jokes, sought friends, feared loss, desired independence, loved my parents, had to seek work, desired fulfillment, was determined by my habits, had some talents and gravitated toward what perfected them, fell in love, got married, conceived a child, desired God, etc. These are the sorts of things that showed me myself most profoundly- and they are nothing other than instances of the rational nature manifesting itself.
There is a certain tendency in modern thought to understand “person” in such a way as to minimize or even explain away the primacy of nature. Such an opinion understands man only superficially; it confuses mere individuation with personality; what is merely unique with what we most fully are. Man’s most profound experiences of his own self are per se in experiences which are common to the whole human race- experiences like the sort mentioned in the first paragraph.
June 22, 2006 at 12:42 pm (Default Category)
Descartes, famously, grounded first philosophy on the premise “I am thinking, therefore I exist”. I’ve already spoken of the main problem with this: its grounded on an evil deceiver argument which assumes that a thing is possible because it is imaginable. But there is a more straightforward problem with the premise: it’s obviously false. Descartes doesn’t exist. He’s been dead for three hundred years now. Since Descartes’ premise is the foundation of First Philosophy as he understands it, his first philosophy is based on falsehood.
What would we have to say to avoid this consequence? First philosophy is obviously not founded on the particular historical individual Descartes, even if his philosophy is in fact the first and only true one. In fact, as we’ve just said, it is only if first philosophy is not tied to the life of Descartes as such that it can be true. Philosophy, then, is not in us inasmuch as we are individuals, but inasmuch as we have a rational nature. The “I” must be seen as belonging to first philosophy only per accidens– if not, Descartes’ philosophy is as obviously false as Descartes is dead.
In fact, even if Desacrtes were still alive, his philosophy, if based on himself as such, could not be true for me. I am not Descartes. His philosophy can only have meaning for me if it is based on what is common to both myself and Descartes, or in other words, if I come to his book presupposing a unity, invariability, and eternity of the rational nature which all men give an instance of in their persons.
June 21, 2006 at 9:32 pm (Default Category)
That there is a being of reason, i.e. a thing which exists in the mind, is certain in itself. Science is the most perfect of these beings of reason. It belongs necessarily to science to follow a certain order, and so the production of science means to produce order among the things in the mind. We call the producing of order among the things of the mind Logic.
June 21, 2006 at 7:35 pm (Default Category)
The word “mean” is wonderfully rich. To be cruel, to be unfair, to be miserly, the midway point, an average, the measure, to intend, to be about, to have purpose. The word shows up in every division of philosophy: moral; logical, physical (the intentions of the soul), and metaphysical (the principle of contradiction is defended by asking an opponent to say something that means something). In Latin, it takes at least three terms to capture all these senses: most significantly, intentio is the closest to “mean” in the sense that “this word means such- and- such” hence the doctrine of intentions.
June 21, 2006 at 12:25 pm (Default Category)
What undergoes motion is being moved: by its parts, by what it lacks, by its potency, by the things in its environment, by whatever grants it what it must not have.
June 20, 2006 at 3:57 pm (Default Category)
It is helpful to look at being not only by dividing up the various meanings of the word, but also in relation to genus. Being is not a genus, but it has some similarities to it, like predictability and generality of notion. Because of these similarities, it is easy to confuse ideas of being with ideas of a genus, or things considered generically.
There are a few differences. To name only three:
– Genus, as such, connotes incomplete existence, for as genus it is rendered more complete by a receiving differences. Being does not connote incomplete existence, neither can it receive differences in any way.
-Genus necessarily connotes limitation, but being does not. For genus necessarily connotes passive potency, and being is indifferent to it. But passive potency is the cause of limitation, for it determines what is able to be.
-Genus connotes a certain relation, for genus is an imperfect or incomplete species. But being does not connote a certain relation.
June 20, 2006 at 1:52 pm (Default Category)
“What is” can be taken in two ways:
1.) What is, as opposed to what is not. We indicate in this way existence as opposed to non-existence.
2.) The thing which is: a man, white, etc. This can be taken in two ways:
a.) What is in itself, or per se. This is substance.
b.) What is in another, or per accidens.
Either of these things can likewise be considered as substance or accident, or as what is constituted into the substance or the accident: humanity, whiteness: taken in this sense, we call “what is” by the name “essence”.
In both these senses, being has the sense of determination, and therefore of separating the thing called being from indetermination. The negations and privations of both senses of being are infinite and indeterminate, and in themselves unintelligible. A sign of this is that we must account for the negation or privation by the thing it negates or falls short of: e.g. a flat tire is one lacking air. This ability to understand what is not through what is allows us to use the word “what is” in another way, sc. to indicate the correctness of an understanding.
Now there is nothing to stop us from having a correct understanding of things which are, and so the sense of “what is” which connotes correctness of understand applies indifferently to what is and what is not. It is for this reason that it is absolutely impossible to conclude from the mere correctness of the understanding to a being taken in the first or the second sense.
And so the double division of “what is” leads to another double division in what is:
1a.) being in the mind, or what is taken according to the correctness of the understanding, and
2b.) being taken in either of the first two ways given.